howard negligent over bird flu: rudd

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    Wednesday November 2, 11:14 AM

    Howard negligent over bird flu: Rudd

    Prime Minister John Howard has been recklessly irresponsible by not adequately funding regional preparedness for bird flu, Labor says.

    Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has argued that the threat of a bird flu pandemic should not be blown out of proportion.

    But he has also warned of massive global costs should such an outbreak occur.

    Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said the frontline in Australia's defence against bird flu was east Asia and South-East Asia.

    "John Howard can find $45 million of taxpayer funds to fund an IR propaganda campaign but, so far, can barely find $20 or $30 million to build regional preparedness for bird flu in east and South-East Asia," he said.

    "This is recklessly irresponsible, it is negligent in terms of building up the region's defences against bird flu."

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